A Little Late But Not Forgotten

Now that I have caught you up I need to backtrack a little. I am not sure if you can recall but I had gone on a trip to the north with some girlfriends back in June dubbed the “Salta, It’s Natural” tour.

In my last post on the topic I left off when we arrived at Purmamarca

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We took our time watching the sun set on the Cerro de los Siete Colores before we began our journey of trying to find a place to shower, drop our things, and fill our bellies. Because we arrived during the low season a lot lot of places were closed but we were still able to find an affordable hostel and a restaurant with live music. While the north is known for its cazuelas (stew), tamales, and locro – you will also find a lot of llama featured on the menus.

LAMAS!!!

LlAMAS!!!

So, naturally, I had to try some.

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It was. . . dry jajaja.

It was so cold and Purmamarca doesn’t offer much in regards to nightlife so we called it a night. The nice thing about traveling during low season is there wasn’t a shortage of beds and, though it was freezing, there were plenty of blankets to go around. The next day the desert embraced us with perfect weather to explore the bazaar in the plaza.

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Purmarmca was really refreshing for me. It was nice to leave the Eurocentric Buenos Aires and get a taste of indigenous Argentino culture. I found that so much of the north reminded me of my roots and New Mexico – the use of adobe, tamales, the colors the music. It is only natural to look for the familiar in the unfamiliar, and of course it was not the same, but it was comforting and familiar.

* All images courtesy of Eva Pederson

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The Journey Continues – Purmamarca

After our, ahem, interesting night in Salta – we woke up and were excited to get out and continue North. Deciding to rent a car was the best idea we had. We were able to rent one for a pretty reasonable price – 420 pesos each! We had originally asked for a smaller car, as it was cost efficient, but luckily for us the car had issues so we got this baby instead! DSCF5774Considering the roads we were to drive on in the next coming days; we lucked out. I like to think they did this on purpose. . .

BTW, I highly recommend renting a car – it gives you the freedom to travel at your leisure, and take as many photo ops as you want (lord knows we did).

Tip: If you are going to drive outside of Buenos Aires, and you are American, you need an international drivers license. I also recommend being able to drive a stick as they are more readily available and cheaper to rent. I don’t have an IDL, nor can I drive stick, so all I had to do was sit back and enjoy the views :).

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Next on our newly dubbed “Salta, it’s natural” circuit was Purmamarca – home to the famed Cerro de los Siete Colores.

Cerro de los Siete Colores - Eva Pederson

Cerro de los Siete Colores – Eva Pederson

There are two ways to get to Purmamarca from Salta (we learned this a little too late) – on your typical highway, or through the jungle. We, of course, crossed into the region of Jujuy through the jungle. IMG_7838The drive was beautiful, yet slightly unnerving. Prepare yourself for hairpin curves and steep drops. On this road, 2 is a crowd, so be courteous and pull to side; if you can.  Don’t allow this to sway you out of taking the jungle, be adventurous, it’s a gorgeous drive.

Lastly be warned – the closer you get to the Bolivian border the more frequent the check points are. This can be time consuming but, luckily for us, most of the time they would look in the car say something like “todas hermosas” and wave us through.

We arrived at Purmamarca right as the sun was setting and our timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The rosy skies, adobe buildings, and el Cerro de los Siete Colores all blended together and left everything draped in pink.

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Journey to the North – Salta

I had hoped to post as we went along our trip but, knowing that we would have limited access to the internet and, in an effort to pack lightly, I decided to forgo packing my laptop. An effort I failed miserably at BTW.  I was preparing for what I thought was going to be a blistering cold journey, and if I had to bundle up, I wanted to look cute doing it. That said, in the back of my mind, I knew I would end up wearing the same things anyway. The vanity, the vanity. . . Luckily for me, I didn’t have to carry my bag much.

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Anyway – after about a 23 hour bus ride we arrived in Salta – tired, needing a shower, and hungry. After having asked a few people were we should go to eat, we got a little excited when everyone mentioned the same place – Panadería del Chuña. With all this hype, how could we NOT try it out? So, we showered and marched our hungry asses in search of what seemed to be a legendary restaurant. And, legendary it was. . .

Just east of the plaza we came upon the restaurant and each of us just stopped and stared in . . . amazement. Was the building huge? Yes. Incredible architecture? Meh. Beautiful? Not particularly. So what was the big deal? The wall opposite the entrance was lit up by a huge curtain of Christmas lights that changed colors. -_-

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There was a small debate about whether we should find another and then we succumbed because A) we were starving and B) “well, when in Salta”.

The food was mediocre at best – the empanadas were the smallest I’ve ever seen, the meat was the worst that any of us have had in Argentina, and the wine list was limited. At one point we were drenched in a savory blue lighting followed by a light show sure to bring on an epileptic attack. All the while there was a mix of Folkclorico dancing, singing, ANND a video of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World which included (of course) Iguazu Falls. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good cultural event – I did major in Anthropology in college with a focus on Cultural Anthro, but this was too much, even for me.

The strange thing is, we seemed to be the only non-Argentines there. And everyone was LOVING IT. They were clapping, cheering and dancing along. It was all a bit awkward, to say the least. I am sure Salta has some wonderful restaurants but this is not one of them.

Maybe it was the long bus ride, maybe it was the lighting that made my food look like black ink,IMG_6989 or that this place was INSANELY over priced (I am serious you can eat 10x better in Buenos Aires for less, and that is saying something) – whatever the reason we were eager to finish our wine and get some sleep.

All of that said, we still had a great time and it was an experience. At the end of the day, what more can you ask for?

**** I have had issues with loading images this week, thus the delay in posting AND the lack of pictures. But don’t worry, I will be providing images as soon as I can ;).

Journey to the North

Happy Sunday! I know I’ve neglected my blog for a little over a week, but for good reason. . . I finally had a vacation! Being that this month marks my 6th month here, it only seemed proper (and a bit overdue) to get out and explore this great big country. It’s too cold to go South this time of year (and you should know by now that I don’t do cold) so we went North, naturally. Who is we? It was an international affair, 5 chicas – 1 Italian, 1 Danish-Italian, Italian-Argentine-Austrian, 1 Uruguayan-American, 1 Mexican-American.

Our itinerary? Buenos – Salta – Purmamarca – Salinas Grandes – Tilcara – Maimara – Humahuaca – Iruya – Cafayate – Salta – Buenos. All in 9 days!

How did we do? You will have to read to find out 🙂